Trial by Water

NASA tests the seaworthiness of its new moonship.



(Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division)

“The point of the full-scale article,” says Carrico, “is attention to detail. Not only the detail on the outside that you can see, but there’s a lot of effort on the inside to make this the most high-fidelity test article in the whole [Constellation] program.”

The Orion spacecraft will seat six people—twice as many as fit in the Apollo capsule. “The Space Station today only has three people on it,” continues Pearson, “but we hope to build it up to six people within a year. And then, if there’s an emergency, we’d like to be able to put all six in one capsule. Another reason it’s bigger, is that when we go to the moon, we want to send four people instead of three. And this time all four people will go down [to the lunar surface].”

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